Saintly Spheres and Islamic Landscapes

Emplacements of Spiritual Power across Time and Place


Saintly Spheres and Islamic Landscapes explores the creation, expansion, and perpetuation of the material and imaginary spheres of spiritual domination and sanctity that surrounded Sufi saints and became central to religious authority, Islamic piety, and the belief in the miraculous.
The cultural and social constructs of Islamic sainthood and the spatial inscription of saintly figures have fascinated and ignited scholars across a range of disciplines. By bringing together a broad scope of perspectives and case studies, this book offers the reader the first comprehensive, albeit variegated, exposition of the evolution of saintly spheres and the emplacements of spiritual power in the Muslim world across time and place.

Contributors: Angela Andersen, Irit Back, Devin DeWeese, Daphna Ephrat, Jo-Ann Gross, Nathan Hofer, Ayfer Karakaya-Stump, Sara Kuehn, Bulle Tuil Leonetti, Silvia Montenegro, Alexandre Papas, Paulo G. Pinto, Fatima Quraishi, Eric Ross, Itzchak Weismann, Pnina Werber, and Ethel Sara Wolper.

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Daphna Ephrat, Ph.D. (1993), is Associate Professor of history at the Open University of Israel. She has written widely on the formation of religious leadership and associations in the medieval Islamic Near East, including Spiritual Wayfarers, Leaders in Piety (Harvard UP, 2009).

Ethel Sara Wolper, Ph.D. (1990), is Associate Professor of history at the University of New Hampshire. She is the author of Cities and Saints: Sufism and the Transformation of Urban Space in Medieval Anatolia (Penn State University Press, 2003) and has published widely on Islamic architecture and religious communities in the medieval and early modern Islamic world.

Paulo G. Pinto, Ph.D. (2002), is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil. He has done ethnographic fieldwork in Syria, Iraq, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, and is the co-editor of Ethnographies of Islam: Ritual Performances and Everyday Practices (Edinburgh University Press, 2012).
List of Figures and Maps
A Note on Transliteration, Names, and Translation

PART 1: Creation and Revitalization

1 The Creation of Spheres of Spiritual Domination and Sanctity in Medieval Syrian Landscapes: Hagiographical Narratives and Historical Legacies
Daphna Ephrat

2 The Creation and Institutionalization of the Sufi Landscape in Medieval Upper Egypt
Nathan Hofer

3 The Cult of Saints and Shrine Architecture: The Making of Funeral Centers of Devotion in the Medieval Muslim West
Bulle Tuil Leonetti

4 A Saint “On the Move”: Traces in the Evolution of a Landscape of Religious Memory in the Balkans
Sara Kuehn

5 The “Shrinescapes” and Narrative Traditions of Khoja Ishaq Khuttalani
Jo-Ann Gross

6 Encountering Saints in the Hallowed Ground of a Regional Landscape: The ‘Description of Khwārazm’ and the Experience of Pilgrimage in Nineteenth-Century Central Asia
Devin DeWeese

PART 2: Spatial Formation and the Power of Place

7 Sufi Buildings and Networks of Authority in Medieval Anatolia
Ethel Sara Wolper

8 Situating Iraqi Shrine Cities within the Alevi-Bektashi Sacred Landscape: Networks of Saintly Families Linking Anatolia to Karbala and Najaf in the Ottoman Era
Ayfer Karakaya-Stump

9 “This is Makkah for Me!” Devotion in Architecture at the Makli Necropolis
Fatima Quraishi

10 “He who is the wondrous green dome is Ali”: The Relationship between Narratives of the Prophet Muhammad’s Ascension and the Communal Religious Architecture of the Alevis
Angela Andersen

11 Bombay Mystical City: Muslim Shrines and Saints in the Urban Fabric from 1800 to Present
Alexandre Papas

12 Senegal’s Sufi Cities: Places beyond the State
Eric Ross

PART 3: Transformation and Globalization

13 Shifting Spheres along the Hajj Route from West Africa: The Case of the Tijaniyya during the Colonial Period
Irit Back

14 The Entire Land is My Lodge: Naqshbandi Responses to the Challenges of Modernity and Globalization
Itzchak Weismann

15 Charisma’s Reach: Spiritual Travel and Material Flows in a Sufi Saint’s Wilayat
Pnina Werbner

16 “Diasporizing” Sainthood: Shaykh Ahmed, a Syrian ʿAlawi Saint in Argentina
Silvia Montenegro

17 Territories of Memory: Ritual and Dreams in the Making of a Contemporary Syrian Saint
Paulo G. Pinto

All those interested in Sainthood, Asceticism, Sufism, Islamic piety, the history and culture of Islam, and Muslim societies.
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